The restaurant business is a competitive game and trying to stand out in the crowd can be difficult. One little bar on the outskirts of Paris, however, has devised a clever and thoroughly charming way to make its mark on its neighborhood.
In order to bring attention to its bar, the owners of Les Chaises (The Chairs) fashioned 400 colorful little chairs out of champagne bottle caps, affixed a little card, and placed them around the Gambetta neighborhood in Paris’ 20th arrondissement. Anyone who found the sweet little chairs could return them to the restaurant for a little surprise.
Bar owner Thomas Henry says the idea for the mini-chairs street marketing operation, its first ever marketing effort, came from a key trait of the bar itself. "There's no special concept in the bar but we wanted all the chairs to be different. We bought them in flea markets."
Henry says they’d always wanted to do something fun to promote the bar, which opened last June. "Since the beginning we wanted to do something in the street with chairs, something more original than just printing flyers. We recently bought an oven to make pizza and we thought it was the right time to communicate with neighborhood. The idea of using champagne caps came last Christmas as we were playing with caps during a family meal. After that we asked all our friends and family to start collecting as many caps as possible, at weddings, ceremonies and parties etc. We finally gathered around 400 caps in 10 months."
It took around 20 hours to make the mini chairs, which were spray painted in an array of bright and eye-catching colors. Square business cards were attached with a message to bring the chairs back to Les Chaises for a special surprise. The chairs were dispatched around Gambetta early in the morning to attract a commuting crowd and were nestled on benches, mailboxes, bus shelters, and fountains. "The budget was really minimal as it was 100% DIY," says Henry.
Of the nearly 400 placed, Henry estimates that they’ve all been picked up and about 30 of them have been redeemed at the bar. So what do those lucky enough to find this colorful little treasure get when returning a mini chair to Les Chaises? Pizza, naturally.